Adjustable roof helps giraffe move from Paignton to Chessington
A YOUNG male giraffe has left Paignton Zoo and is settling in well at his new home in Chessington Zoo. So how do you move a 14ft (4.3m) tall giraffe? The answer is a special trailer with an adjustable roof…
Tonda, a three-year-old Rothschild's giraffe, was moved to Chessington Zoo in Surrey to make way for new giraffe arrivals at Paignton Zoo.
"With two young calves born last year, Tonda needed to move on so that we can manage our growing herd," said Neil Bemment, Curator of Mammals and Director of Operations at Paignton Zoo. "Tonda may breed at Chessington in the future, but for the time being he will form a small bachelor group with two other young males."
The 200-mile (322km) journey to Chessington took around four hours, using a specialist animal removals firm, and a special trailer.
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"Tonda has been used to feeding in a crate positioned against the door to the paddock," said Paignton Zoo spokesperson Philip Knowling. "On the day of his departure, this was replaced by a low-wheelbase trailer with an adjustable roof to suit Tonda's height. The Zoo's Manitou telehandler vehicle was used to manoeuvre the trailer into position."
The young giraffe was lured into the trailer with some green food. It was decided not to sedate him in case he fell over during the journey. The latest update is that Tonda is none the worse for his long journey and has settled in well to his new home.
Tonda was born to mother Janica and father Yoda in February 2010. His name means worthy of praise. It is Latin and used as a short form of Antonius in the Czech and Slovak regions, which is where his mother came to Devon from.
Rothschild's giraffes are rare. There are less than 700 of them in the wild. In 2010, the International Conservation of Nature put them on its red list of endangered species.